Sniper suspect expected in court today
RENO (AP) – A former pawn shop owner was expected to make his first Reno court appearance today on charges he fatally stabbed his wife and shot the judge handling their divorce case.
Darren Mack, 45, was booked late Friday into the Washoe County Jail on charges of murder, attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon. He was being held on no bail Sunday.
He was returned to Nevada after turning himself in to authorities Thursday night in the Mexican resort city of Puerto Vallarta, where he was hiding out.
He was flown to Dallas, where he waived extradition, and later arrived at the Reno jail in an armored SWAT van escorted by two police cruisers.
Before he stepped out of the van, five officers armed with assault rifles secured the area. About a dozen sheriff’s deputies and several detectives escorted him inside the jail. “Suspects are arraigned within 72 hours of when they are booked,” police Lt. Doug Cardwell said Saturday. “It would be fair to assume he’ll be arraigned Monday.”
Undersheriff Mike Haley said Mack would be placed in a special cell away from other inmates until he is evaluated mentally and physically.
Mack is charged with murder in the stabbing death of Charla Mack, 39. Her body was found June 12 in his town house garage.
The same day, Family Court Judge Chuck Weller was shot in the chest as he stood near his third-floor office window.
The judge has been recovering under guard. District Attorney Dick Gammick said charges also would be filed in Weller’s shooting.
Prosecutors have not yet decided whether they will seek the death penalty against Mack, who made the FBI’s list of most-wanted fugitives Tuesday.
A shoe, towels and a T-shirt – all with red stains – as well as more than 50 boxes of ammunition and four empty rifle cases were among items seized from Darren Mack’s town house after his wife was found dead, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported in its Saturday editions.
Also taken were documents listing Weller’s campaign contributions and a VHS tape titled “The Case Against Lawyers” and “Court Corruption,” according to the search warrant obtained by the newspaper.
Mack had been a vocal opponent of Weller, claiming the judge was corrupt.
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When the Judicial & Law Enforcement Center was built 40 years ago, there were only 19,400 people living in Douglas County.